Singing Loudly: Ethical Question

Singing Loudly

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Ethical Question

Imagine that you've just left one of your favorite bars. You've had a bowl of queso, too many chips, and a couple pitchers of beer with one of your best friends. You have gotten your fill of talking about the things that matter: girls, sports, and cheesy jokes. You walk out into the parking lot and get cut off by your car by a homeless guy. He says to you, "I'm sorry to bother you, I've got a rag in my bag that could clean your car, I missed my bus and need a few dollars to take a cab home."

Typically I don't like to give money to homeless people, because I would rather contribute money to charities that actually help them. I think that is a much better use of my money, and helps the homeless people who actually want food, assistance, or shelter. Whereas the people you give money to directly can use it for whatever use they want. I don't care if they want to drink or not, but I'd rather not fund it. I'm dumb that way sometimes.

The question is what do you say? Do you tell them you don't have any money on you, which could be a lie? Is it alright to lie in these situations? Do you just say you don't want your car wiped with a stupid rag? What about when they counter by saying that they aren't "below taking pennies"? Do you give them some pennies or hold to your claim that you don't have any money?

It upsets me when I turn down people who are homeless. Is it alright to lie to homeless people when you truly believe that lie will be more helpful in the long run? What about when you just don't want to deal with it but have no intention of donating money to charities that help homeless? Is it better to lie or to say you'd rather not give them money?


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